Break the Cycle
October 31, 2008 • By Ed Wrather
Now these are the nations which the LORD left, that He might test Israel by them, that is, all who had not known any of the wars in Canaan (this was only so that the generations of the children of Israel might be taught to know war, at least those who had not formerly known it), namely, five lords of the Philistines, all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites who dwelt in Mount Lebanon, from Mount Baal Hermon to the entrance of Hamath. And they were left, that He might test Israel by them, to know whether they would obey the commandments of the LORD, which He had commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses. - Judges 3:1-4.
And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment. Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us. - 1 John 3:22-24.
What would you do if you had to repeat the same day over and over again? In the movie "Groundhog Day" that is what happens to Phil Connors (Bill Murray) who is sent to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to do a story on the annual Groundhog Day festivities. Phil finds himself repeating the same day over and over and over again. Things go from bad to worse until he decides to take advantage of the time instead of wasting it. Phil spent months learning the art of flicking a card into a hat perfectly each time. But Phil’s heart changes and eventually the day arrives when it is no longer Groundhog Day but tomorrow.
In the Book of Judges the Children of Israel have their own Groundhog Day. No, it is not the same day repeating over and over, but it is the same cycle of life repeating itself over and over. After the death of Joshua the Israelites had abandoned the worship of the One True God and instead served the false God of Baalim (Judges 2:10-13). When the people sinned, God would allow their enemies to defeat them. In their torment the people would cry out to God for help. Each time this happened God would send a leader, who was called a judge to deliver them. This cycle of sin, torment, repentance, and deliverance was repeated over and over again.
This painful cycle of sin, pain, repentance, and deliverance occurs in our lives as well. Until we learn the lesson and break the cycle by walking in obedience to God, we are doomed to go through that cycle over and over again. We will never fully experience the abundant life until we break out of this cycle. Phil Connors eventually learned his lesson. Will we?